From a distance trying to predict the European pairings looks to be a bit of a finger-in-the-air job. With the likes of Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey and Ian Poulter all now gone Europe have lost much of their old foundations.
Garcia and Rahm were perfect for one another while the likes of Westwood, Poulter and Stenson gave you all manner of options. But all things must come to an end and, in truth, it’s more a case of time rather LIV Golf that has ended their Ryder Cup careers.
Here are five possible pairings that we might see in Rome.
1) Viktor Hovland and Rory McIlroy
We seem to have spent since 2010 trying to find Rory’s perfect partner. We started off with Graeme McDowell but that never quite worked out. Maybe now it’s time to give Rory what he likes best and stick him out there front and centre and who better to pair him with than one of the hottest players on the planet? When Hovland came off the 18th green at Olympia Fields, having shot a 61 to win the BMW Championship, he said to Rory that ‘It’s going to be a lot of fun in Rome’ so let’s read lots/too much into that. Reportedly they also had a match against another European pair in the practice days at Royal Liverpool.
2) Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton
That match was against Fleetwood and Hatton who played together on two days of practice at Hoylake as well as at the Hero Cup. Hatton appears to be a world away from a Francesco Molinari-type of character but he’s nothing like his on-course persona and you could see these two having quite a lot of fun. Stick them down for a couple of foursomes where we’re likely to see a lot of the European big guns.
3) Jon Rahm and Sepp Straka
In my head these two would be absolute bulldogs. Get them out there early on and let them go nuts. In truth Straka probably isn’t that type of character but Rahm would make up for that. If you were to watch Straka when he’s playing well then it’s hard to think of anyone better. He barely misses a beat and repeatedly hits it close and he seems like someone who’s well capable of teaming up with Rahm.
4) Shane Lowry and Robert MacIntyre
Again, this might be a…